Aesthetic appeal in music is in terms of flexibility of vocal expressions. In such a context, ragas go beyond swara-scale variations and sahitya beyond just words. When these two aspects come together in a concert, it leads to a subtle and dynamic exploration. In the hands of an artist with strong training, musical interpretation becomes a reflection of sangatis, sancharas and structural compactness of the compositions.
Vasundhara Rajagopal’s performance for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha to mark the Swati Tirunal Day was not just about techniques but about a deeper understanding of the songs she chose that day. She offered an insight into the kirtanas and the other values conveyed through them.
Her interpretation of the Nilambari kriti “Aanandavalli” had utmost tranquillity and emotional quotient. It carried sahitya wealth, musical motivation and an even structural pace and Vasundhara got completely involved in it. She was quite at ease with its visranti in vilambakala.
To keep the rasikas riveted she sang familiar songs such as “Jaya Jaya Padmanabha” (Manirangu) “Saara Saaksha Paripalayamam” (Pantuvarali) and “Bogeendra Sayinam” (Kuntalavarali). Another noteworthy kriti was “Sri Anjaneya” in Saveri. In both the Nilambari and Saveri kirtanas, the influence of sahitya was predominant.
In handling raga alapana, Vasundhara used her manodharma extremely well and allied to the swaroopa of the ragas. The edifice of Saveri and Pantuvarali was brief on telling sancharas, an indication of her solid training. Without compromising on present day tastes, traditional vividness and consistency formed the essence of the two ragas.
In both rendering of songs and raga alapana, the vocalist linked her musical perception to the sahitya and sanchara in the ragas. If the integrity of a musician involves two factors – true to the art and sincerity to express the art, then Vasundhara Rajagopal was quite modest in revealing both in her performance.
In Pakkala Ramadoss (violin), Sai Giridhar (mridangam) and Adambakkam Sankar (ghatam), Vasundhara had understanding accompanists, competent and restrained as well.